How to clean you washer and dryer

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- We all know that washers, especially front loaders, can smell, but all washers need to be cleaned regularly even if they are top loaders.

Detergent/bleach/softner dispensers:  It you don’t keep the dispensers clean product can accumulate and come out in chucks staining clothes.  Remove the dispensers from the washer and washer them in hot soapy water and rinse well.  Clean out the area where they fit with hot water and soap on a cloth and dry.  Next fill the dispensers with white vinegar and run through the wash cycle to remove any accumulation of products.

Front loader gaskets: The rubber gasket around the door of a front load washing machine collects, dirt, lint,hair, mold and sludge each time you wash.  It contributes to that nasty odor when you open the washing door. 

To clean it, saturate a cloth, I like Nature's Kloth, with white vinegar and wipe the inside of the gasket area.  Don’t be alarmed, you probably will scoop up some brown, gross looking smelly goop.  Keep rinsing the cloth and rewetting with white vinegar and wiping until it comes out clean.  Do this every couple of weeks to remove the mess. 

If you prefer you can use 2 cups of warm water with 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in it.  Apply with a cloth the same way.  Tea tree oil is available at drug stores and health food stores.  It is a great disinfectant.

Cleaning the clothes dryer:  Most of us are good about cleaning the lint off of the dryer lint filter.  This should be done after every load of wash, but what about the residue that builds up on the filter? This residue, that coats the filter screen,  is from fabric softener residue.  It coats and blocks the holes on the filter and makes drying clothes take longer. 

Pull your lint filter out and take a look at it, is there a coating on it?  If so you need to remove the softener buildup .  First remove all the lint you can from the dryer lint filter.  Now fill the sink with warm soapy water and about ½ cup of white vinegar.  Put the lint filter in and allow it to soak for 15 minutes or so. Now use a gentle brush or scrubber to remove all the product residue.  Push it up and down in the water to clean it.  Now rinse it well in warm water and dry with paper towels.  Allow to air dry completely before putting back in the dryer.  This should be done monthly for sure. 

After seeing the residue you can now understand how it builds up on your clothes and why using ¼ of white vinegar in the rinse cycle is better for your clothes.

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